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  Sinister 2 Childhood Terrors
Year: 2015
Director: Ciarán Foy
Stars: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Lea Coco, Tate Ellington, John Beasley, Lucas Jade Zumann, Jaden Klein, Laila Hailey, Caden Marshall Fritz, Olivia Rainey, Nicholas King, Michael B. Woods, Tory O'Davis
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) has suffered the nightmare again, and as he wakes up in a state of fright he looks around his darkened bedroom to see... a boy lying next to him. But that was just a bad dream too, and he has bigger things to worry about, such as his father who wants custody of him and his twin brother Zachary (Dartanian Sloan), to take them away from their mother Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon). Meanwhile, an ex-Deputy (James Ransone) goes to a Catholic church to confess the priest there, well, not really confess as he is not really Catholic, but more to ask for advice, since he has recently become involved with what he believes to be sinister supernatural machinations...

As with even the halfway successful horror movies of the twenty-first century, Sinister, something of a sleeper hit though that was par for the course for chiller specialists Blumhouse Productions, spawned a follow-up shortly after, this time only co-scripted by Scott Derrickson who had directed the previous entry. Ciarán Foy was the man at the helm in this instance, and the consensus appeared to be he had botched it, nipping what would have been a promising franchise in the bud, but while there was no shortage of naysayers lining up to complain about what they had done to the piece, there were some advocates who pointed out this wasn't too bad, indeed compared to some horror sequels it was pretty good.

The main gimmick with Sinister was an adaptation of the found footage approach, only the footage was literally found by the characters, reels of old celluloid film that when played revealed an apparently authentic set of murders of families. There were more of those clips this time around as Dylan is coaxed down to the cellar in the middle of the night to watch these recordings by the spirits of dead children, or what seems to be that, which brought us to the main influence, which for a refreshing change was not The Exorcist but Children of the Corn, the Stephen King short story adaptation of the nineteen-eighties that was a modest hit but went on to a longer life after being caught by impressionable minds on late night television.

So the creepy kids are the agency by which the evil forces enter into the real world, and the pointers are that Dylan will soon be sending his family into these deadly situations should he keep on watching the film reels and falling under the spell of the ghosts. But the ex-Deputy (who is never named) is on to them, and makes contact almost by accident with Courtney when he shows up at the old farmhouse she and her kids are hiding out in, striking up a friendship as he investigates, not too adeptly it had to said, the mystery of the entities breaking through the barriers of reality. But there was another threat, and that was the estranged husband (Lea Coco) who is determined to get his boys back, and his wife too, even if she strenuously objects to returning to an abusive household.

The husband has already beaten Zachary before, and the implication is that Courtney and Dylan will be next if they are forced back with him, but that brought out the theme of domestic and child abuse and living with a violent partner or father that Sinister 2 appeared to be more interested in than the spooks and apparitions you would have expected to be its bread and butter. To be fair, though it wasn't what many were expecting, they did this rather well if you were prepared for it, getting into how an abusive parent can warp a young mind (Zachary goes off the rails well before the last act) and how living in a climate of fear, even terror, is not the healthiest of places to be, though whether you needed a horror sequel to tell you that was up to you. While the script did a fair job of marrying these two sides, the real and the unreal, together, the impression was more of two different subjects crammed into one film, so while you could make a valid case for this being underrated, it wasn't so underestimated that it managed to rise above its chosen subgenre. Music by tomandandy.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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